Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, is building a square in commemoration of Matteo Ricci, the Italian Jesuit missionary who introduced the world map, Western mathematics and astronomy to China in the 16th Century.
Matteo Ricci Square, covering 2,900 square meters, would be located at the southern end of the city center's Bayi Street, said Yang Jianbao, chief designer of the project and vice-president of the city's writers association.
A three-meter tall statue of Matteo Ricci would be erected in the center of the square, with a brief biography in Chinese and English inscribed on the base.
The square would be a leisure attraction with open-air bars, cafes and a Roman-style odeum, or theater, said Yang.
Construction of the square would be completed before the end of September.
Matteo Ricci, born in 1552, arrived in Macao in 1582. He promoted Catholicism and science in many Chinese cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Nanchang and introduced China's cultural and scientific attainment to Europe.
Ricci spent three years in Nanchang from 1595 to 1598 and told his friends about the city in his letters. "In one of his letters, Ricci told his friends in Italy that Nanchang had clean, wide streets and was at least twice as big as Florence," said Yang. Ricci died in Beijing in 1610, and then Emperor Wanli of the imperial Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) had his grave set in the western part of the city proper.